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Illinois hunting and fishing

In this photo taken Nov. 17, 2009, Mary Valenti sets a live trap, donated by Animal Outreach Society, to rescue a feral cat that has been living in the woods behind her Bull Valley, home. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the number of feral cats in the U.S. is estimated in the tens of millions. Many communities are struggling to get the population under control. (AP Photo/The Northwest Herald, Travis Haughton)

Feral cats issue needs control

November 23, 2009 at 01:08 PM

The Crystal Lake Northwest Herald

BULL VALLEY, Ill. (AP) — In the morning, Mary Valenti would feed her four cats. At night, she would go outside to feed another.

The one outside — she thought it was a male — got the same food: dry, canned, and some treats.

“People are under the assumption that cats can live on their own, and it’s not true,” said Valenti, who lives in Bull Valley. “A ton of stuff could happen to them.”

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the number of feral cats in the U.S. is estimated in the tens of millions. Many communities are struggling to get the population under control.

Feral cats and strays are different. A cat born and raised in the wild, or who has been abandoned or lost and reverted to wild ways in order to survive, is considered feral. Feral cats often live in groups, called colonies, and have an average lifespan of less than two years, according to the ASPCA.

“The problem with feral cats is that they reproduce,” said Joyce Crosbie from Animal Outreach Humane Society of McHenry County.

“The sad part is, it’s a human problem. Feral cats can be controlled if people did the right thing and not throw their cats out.”

The cat in Valenti’s yard wasn’t mean. He was just scared of people and would let Valenti only get close, not pet him, she said.

“When you get to know them, that they’ve got personalities and can be trained, you change your whole mind with animals,” Valenti said.

Following Crosbie’s advice, Valenti began putting the food in a dog carrier, which then was switched out for a live trap. The cat, which did turn out to be male, was caught within a few hours.

Valenti had him neutered then brought him back to her property in hopes of him becoming a barn cat.

Others, however, see the feral cat population as more of a nuisance.

Randy Schietzelt, president of the McHenry County Audubon Society, doesn’t want to appear anti-cat. In fact, he has three indoor cats of his own. But he also sees the feral cats in his yard just waiting to catch dinner.

“There is some research that there is a rather large number, up in the millions, of birds as well as other animals like chipmunks, that are killed annually (by feral cats),” Schietzelt said.

It’s not uncommon to see feral cats dead on the side of the road, and no one likes to see that, he said.

“We do need to give them a good life,” he said. “I think we need to figure out a long-term solution.”

He doesn’t support trap, neuter and release programs because they largely are ineffective, Schietzelt said.

“It seems to spawn some bad behavior,” he said. “People think, I can let the cat loose in the wild and I don’t have to feel guilty about it because someone will take care of it.’ “

He’s not happy about it but said euthanasia was an option.

“There may be a short-term unpleasantness with certain animals not able to be socialized being euthanized, but there would be (fewer) cats dying in the long run,” Schietzelt said.

However, Dr. Edin Mehanovic, an administrator with McHenry County Animal Control and owner of the Wonder Lake Veterinary Clinic, said that TNR programs were working.

In an 18-month pilot program that started in 2004, Animal Control teamed up with Animal Outreach and Helping Paws. About 1,200 feral cats were trapped, immunized, and spayed or neutered before being returned to colonies where they were cared for.

Additionally, 730 adoptable cats were taken out of colonies and adopted into homes.

If housing is available, Animal Control will take in feral cats, Mehanovic said.

“They do not leave Animal Control without being spayed or neutered,” he said.

Adoption is the ideal situation. If the animal cannot be socialized, Animal Control will look for a barn program to help provide food and shelter.

Still, some cats will be euthanized if they are sick or a barn program cannot be found, Mehanovic said.

“There was one gentleman who was bringing us three to five cats a day, and we were overwhelmed with the number he was bringing,” Mehanovic said. “It takes time.”

 

Your CommentsComments :: Terms :: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

‘Feral cats often live in groups, called colonies, and have an average lifespan of less than two years.’

Whomever calculated the lifespan of the feral cats didn’t include me in the survey.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/23 at 01:25 PM

?People are under the assumption that cats can live on their own, and it?s not true,? said Valenti
I call B.S. on this one. Has she ever been on a farm?

Posted by illin on 11/23 at 05:30 PM

?A ton of stuff could happen to them.?
yeah like
-arrows
-.22
-.223
-22-250
the “stuff” in nearly unlimited.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/23 at 07:35 PM

Last week I did my part to help with the problem when one came by my deer stand.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/23 at 09:04 PM

Yep the damn cats are so bad in my town that it’s nothing to see 8 or 10 a day.  One of the neighbors feeds the things and then gets upset when I complain about them peeing in the breeze way to my house. Ever try to get cat p*ss out of outdoor carpet. The smell is almost impossible to get rid of.  I did the trap thing for a while but found bludgeon tips with a carbon arrow works the best.  No mess no fuss just a pile of fur to dispose of.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/23 at 11:40 PM

“cats can’t live on their own” wow that is certainly and educated statement, my 3 year old knows that cat’s can fend for themselves the ones that can’t are weaker and don’t make it…....
do be mad at me GOD made it that way. i suppose
next we will have Obama care for cats, maybe a bailout program, they can all live in our homes after we all don’t have jobs anymore smile

or we can let the lead fly, less cats, more birds,
love being at the top of the food chain

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/24 at 07:37 AM

Hey Don When you took care of the cat I just hope for your sake that ten pointer wasn’t watching the show!!Just kidding Buddy

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/24 at 08:19 AM

I have barn cats, I wish someone made food with birth control! I would buy it!!!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/24 at 01:05 PM

I thought about that Jerry, but the thought of maybe saving some quail, rabbits and other wildlife took over and I let the arrow fly! BINGO! one dead feline!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/24 at 05:44 PM

Neuter & spay pets.

In time this problem would, for the most part, be solved.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/25 at 09:13 PM

I can’t afford to waste a broadhead/arrow on them..and shooting them (gun), spooks everything in the woods.  I think the coyotes take care of most of them in my area.  Like Asian Carp…we caused it but can’t fix it.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/26 at 09:58 AM

I took in 2 feral cats that were the meanest, badest animals you ever didn’t want to be around. 3 years later, they are the best pets we’ve ever had. They won’t go near our table food, (not even if you tempt them) will not harm little children and absolutely love to hang out with me in the garage skinning deer, mounting heads and sometimes even when I still hunt. In fact, they love to hunt with me! They are very trainable, in fact, better than domesticated cats. It’s almost like they have a better appreciation of the free meals than the house cat. When going on vacation, they can fend for themselves if they run out of food and don’t need others to watch them while we’re gone. Needless to say, we don’t have a mouse issue anymore.
...
On another point, because we live in the country, we see our fair share of feral cats and don’t want them to be around our other pets as they can carry some really nasty diseases.

Posted by Marc Anthony on 11/26 at 11:18 AM

Im not a big fan of feral cats but living in the country it seems we get our fair share dumped cats right on our front door.  I ran a vet clinic for 13 years so everyone that got dumped got taken care of and placed in a home.  Everytime it happened there was some moron human behind the dump. Cats that were completely feral ended up euthanized. Theres no place for them.  Now I wonder what the Audubon thinks about all those windows in peoples houses? A week doesnt go by when my in-laws don’t pick up 1-2 dead birds that have bounced of their picture window.  They feed heavily so there is always a abundance of birds but this week alone I have picked up three dead birds that bounced off that window.  It was for this reason I quit feeding at my house.  Now I chop some standing corn behind the house every couple of weeks.  Not real sure where these statistics come from when it comes to the Audubon but I suspect they are slightly skewed just like the number of birds that are killed by the giant windmills.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/26 at 07:25 PM

Well, maybe your in-laws need to change something if their picture window is a factor in the deaths of 1-2 birds a week…..

I suspect birds crashing into large windows (picture windows, large casement windows, etc.) are causing MORE deaths than Audubon reports. Think about, there’s probably 1 window of this type for every 2 people in the U.S. when you include commercial and industrial buildings. Thats roughly 125 million windows. If ONLY 1% of those windows were struck by a bird per year causing death that’s approximately 12.5 million birds per year.

I suggest using the fake hawk decals in any window(s)involved in bird deaths. There are other products I believe that can be put on windows.

Anyways, getting back to the original topic - cats belong on a leash if outside, just like a dog. If you can’t afford to keep a cat or don’t have the time to care for it, don’t get a cat. If you have a cat and can’t keep it, take it to a shelter, ask realtives or friends to care for it, etc.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/27 at 09:21 PM

I used to have a neighbor that fed a few dozen feral cats. We would always make sure stop by his property line when we were coon or coyote hunting. But they would breed faster than we could shoot em.
  I agree with BowhunterDave. They aren’t worth ruining a deer hunt most of the time.  But, I’ve found that if you make a few mouse squeeks, they might stay in the area for a while and you can shoot them just before you get out of the stand. I’ve even thought about bringing a blowgun to the stand too but that might look bad if the warden stops by.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/02 at 12:36 AM

Is there a limit on cats ?? I have alot of duck shells I need to use up. And what bait would work best ? friskies,, Kibbles and bits, tuna or chicken.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/02 at 08:59 PM

Okay, I live on a farm in Southern Grundy. For some reason people with no brains decide they can’t keep their cat anymore, and dump it on farm. HEY MORON I don’t want your cat either! If someone wants to come out and “Humanely” trap them be my freakin guest, I tried to call animal control and tell them that I have these ferel cats that I can attempt to live trap and bring them in. They tell me, “we have no room”.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/07 at 02:39 PM

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